You could see my naked bum at the palace!


Okay. So it wasn’t my naked bum, but it very well could have been.

You see. I am married to a pastor. And he has been the pastor of an international church for round about 12+ years. And with great strength comes great responsibility. No, wait. That’s Spiderman.

With an international church comes great weddings! Oh, yeah. That sounds more like our slogan.

And a great wedding it was…At the palace in Wasowo, Poland.

You read that correctly. A palace. Pretty spanking awesome, eh?!

Funny thing is, the couple that married, yep. You mine as well call me the matchmaker from Fiddler on the Roof. No. I really didn’t have anything to do with them falling in love, but the guy came from America to work with our foundation here in Poland. And we had him and his teammates stay with us for a week, where they got to go to our church, henceforth meeting his future bride. So, in a very far-fetched round about way, Cody and Zofia, you are most welcome for your love!

Okay, okay.  Again, I had nothing to do with their fairytale romance.  I just love receiving accolades I really didn’t earn.

But back to them falling in love and having their wedding in a palace.  And my bum on display—canvas, mind you—at that palace.

So, we were gifted a room at the palace for the evening, and we were so excited about that.  Excited and very grateful.  It had been a long journey back to Poland.  And then a long first two weeks in Poland.  The travels to the palace promised to be the ice cream on top of our sundae of travels!

Sure enough.  We arrive to a sprawling estate.  Rolling hills, beautiful lake, gorgeous palace, play area for kids, and a wedding spectacular.

We were given our room key.  And we entered.  That’s when I saw it!  The oil painting displayed right next to our bed.

A woman.  About my age.  Naked as the day she was born.  Lying on her stomach on a sofa.  Lounging with her bum for the entire world to see.

To be fair, at the time of the painting, perhaps she thought only her husband would see.  After all, I am sure oil paintings back then were not the “social media sharing” of the century.  Or were they?  Did she know that one day her bum would go viral?  Probably not.

Anyhow, I took one look at that photo.  And then another.  And then I became a student of that picture.  I looked at the woman.  And her body.  And her cool confidence.  No, I am not saying lie around naked and allow others to put you on canvases.

I am simply saying this…She was about my age.  And her body was about my shape.  If not just a wee-bit shapelier.

She had curves.  And she had life (also known as more curves than necessary).

Her bum was not toned and fit.  It was squishy and real.

And I liked it.

I liked that the oil canvas in my room next to our bed was not a photoshopped picture like those you see on display in magazines.

I liked that the original oil painting in our room was an unedited version of a beautiful woman displayed in all of her splendor.

Her real bum was beautiful.  And it gave me just enough pep to take a good look at where my body is today and say, “Brooke, your bum in all of it’s aging glory, its birthed children stretch marks, and it’s inability to lose weight like you did when you were twenty…Your bum is beautiful too!”

Don’t worry, though, Mom.  I won’t hang my bum on an oil painting on a wall in a palace.

Although, now that I think about it, one day, a hundred or so years from now, some woman may think that my bum, in all of its “birth-day” splendor, as inspiring-ly beautiful too.

Richard, go get your brushes and paint!

I’m all for naked babies—but naked rollerbladers?! Woe.To.Me!

Look!  We all love a naked baby photo shoot. To prove it, I’ll share a couple of my favorites.

Here is Maxwell.  Fat.  Naked.  Happy.  Glorious!  I am a proud momma.


And here, on the beach of Spain, is our other glorious child, Maxwell’s sister, Adelyne.  Sandy.  Free.  Naked.  Perfect!  I am a proud momma.


But I am not a fan of naked adults that decide the Great Outdoors is where they, too, should exercise.  Naked.  Well—a small strip of clothing did accompany this person…I’ll get there in a moment.

I know.  I know.   Get to the naked rollerblader, eh?!  I can’t.  Not yet.  You have to hear a little history first.

And it goes like this…

My husband and I are really big into camping.  Well, to be honest, it’s because it’s very economical-and, for the most part, we are rather…um…stable (note-that means not wealthy).  And, secondly, it’s because my husband is a former mountaineering/white-water-rafting guide (Colorado Rockies and Arkansas River).

Thus, when we traverse the glorious diversity of this fabulous continent called Europe, we mainly camp.  In tents.  With sleeping bags.  And eat rice.  Sometimes we add salt to the rice 😉 (Oh, heavens!  This reminds me of Stinky Feet Jake…He must return in a future blog!  It’s a promise I’ll bring Stinky Feet Jake back to life.)

And we love it.

In fact, one summer before we had children and we actually had about $300 to our name, we decided we needed a short vacation.  So we bought our train tickets, loaded our bikes, and headed off to Austria.  First stop on our journey (that’s after traveling through Poland and Czech on very old and noisy and SLOW trains)-Salzburg.  The Hills Were Alive with the Sound of Mozart!   

After our short Salzburg adventure, we took the train to Linz.  And from Linz is where the real adventure began.

The Plan:  Bike from Linz to Vienna, along the Danube, through the Austrian Alps.

Sleep where we could lay our heads.

Eat our rice.

Enjoy the wind blowing through our hair—er—bike helmets.

The End.

And absolutely everything we needed was in our bike packs.  Oooh boy, those bikes were heavy.

Note to all of those that don’t like to exercise: Biking through the Austrian Alps with packs full of camping gear…Yeah.  Better not go there.  Tough stuff.  Nuff said.

We were young.  We had energy.  We had bikes.  We loved exercise (I am obviously not the same present-day-person as this adventurous gal)!  And we were off!

The scenery was as breathtaking as you can imagine.  And we slept in AWESOME spots.

One night, we were so tired as we biked slowly into a little village that we found the first available spot—a field of sunflowers.  Sunflowers that reached the sky.  And we were surrounded by them.  And we threw our sleeping bags on the ground in this field.  And we threw our weary bodies, without dinner, into our bags, and we dreamed beautiful dreams.  After all, we were sleeping in a field of sunflowers.

Actually—that’s not true.  We were in a glorious field of sunflowers, but it started to rain on us.  And so we pulled out the tarp—but we refused to make the tent.  So we threw the tarp over our sleeping bags and tucked our heads in and BAM.  Lights out for us!  Rain did not impede our slumber.

The next morning we woke up to misty sleeping bags and smiling sunflowers.  A post card to be sure.

And we were off again.  No time to lose.  No money to lose time.

And that’s when it happened.  The Naked Rollerblader.



So, Rich and I are biking along a path of the river that is rather calm.  And there are many sunbathers—both next to the river and on the other side of the path.

I spotted them ALL immediately.  Naked.  Naked.  Naked as the day they were born. Naked.

And, not being Pamela Andersen, I sternly cautioned my husband…

“Don’t look to the left!


“Don’t look to the right!”

And, being the gentleman that he is (or scared of his wife’s wrath—wise man), he said, “Okay.”

But—I couldn’t prepare anyone for what was going to happen next.

As we’re finally getting out of the naked war zone, someone zooms past us on rollerblades.

And this someone was a young lady…without clothes…wearing only a string of underwear.  Yep.  Right in front of us.

What could I do?  Yell, “Don’t look straight!”

She was obviously trapped a couple Millennial back, preparing for the Olympics of Ancient Greece.  Naked.

And just like there are winners and losers at the Olympics, I seceded present-day victory.

I had LOST the European battle—Naked won.

And we biked on.

Eventually we made it to Vienna.  Thankfully, people in the city are a bit more partial to clothes.

We camped.  We went Bungee Jumping.  We had a great time.

Fully clothed.

How about you?  Any hilarious stories while traveling abroad?